New Age Islam
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Islam and Spiritualism ( 27 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'Krishna is to be adored through singing, dancing'

Krishna is the purna avatara and goes from sheer sensuality to serene spirituality. He does this because he is both human and divine. This is seen in the romantic persona of Krishna that unfolds in the tenth book of the 'Bhagavata Purana' as he lifts mount Govar-dhana and brings Indra to his knees, signalling the ascendancy of a religion of love over the sacerdotal Vedic hegemony. This then conti-nues in the 'Gita Govinda', the creations of the asthachap kavis of the Nathadwara tradition and then in the compositions of the riti kal kavis. This period of a thousand years sees the depiction of Krishna's lilas and romantic kridas, his amorous involvement with the gopis and then in the Rajput courts as a courtly nayaka.


Why does Krishna lend himself to diverse forms of art and expression?


Poetry remains the basis of all of Krishna's artistic expressions, be they painting, music or dance. They must be seen as parts of the whole of Krishna's persona and not as individual artistic representations, for underpinning them is Krishna madhurya and the ethos of the rasikas prem bhakti.


In the adoration of Krishna, theology and aesthetics, bhaktas and rasikas become a seamless whole, for Krishna is to be adored not through arid rites and rituals, but through singing, dancing

and the aesthetic evocation of miniature paintings.


What does Krishna mean today?


The romantic Krishna is as meaningful today as he was in the last millennium, perhaps more so, for he does not demand any archaic religious rites or cumbersome rituals, neither ascetic withdrawal nor denial from this world of the senses, but leads us to an awakening of madhur dhara, or streams of honey, within ourselves. This is refreshingly different from our present-day world of religious fundamentalism, religion-driven terrorism, politically imperative religiosity or mindless guruism.


Instead, he exhorts us to engage with the world romantically, under-standing romance not just as an amorous activity, but as madhurya or sweet love. This madhurya is to be expressed and experienced equally through the enjoyment of the luxuriance of the world of blossoms and birds, the fertility and fecundity of the world around us, and above all, our engagement with our fellow beings. And all this, by indulging the world of our senses and affirming an emotional oneness of the world around us.


Source: The Times of India, New Delhi